SEOUL, May 2 (Yonhap) -- Most South Korean adolescents smoked fewer Cigarettes a day in 2006 than a year earlier, while their top issue of concern was either their studies or appearance, a report said Wednesday.
Seventy-five percent of male middle school students and 79.8 percent of female middle school students said they smoked five or fewer Cigarettes a day in 2006, according to the report by the National Statistical Office .
among high school students, the percentage came to 50.5 percent for males and 69 percent for females.
"The figures represent declines from the previous year," the office said. "The amount of smoking was higher among high school students than middle school students."
In 2005, 82.4 percent of male middle school students and 87.6 percent of female students smoked fewer than six Cigarettes, the report said.
As students enteRed high school, the amount of smoking increased.
Those who smoked between six to 10 Cigarettes made up 28.4 percent of the male high school population, compaRed with 12.2 percent among middle school students.
The South Korean government has launched a variety of publicity campaigns in the last few years to curb smoking and drinking among youth. According to a separate government report in March, South Korean youths began smoking when they were 12.4 years old on average and began drinking when they were 12.6 during the latter half of 2006.
When asked about their biggest concerns, 56.5 percent of those aged 15-19 picked their studies, while another 15 percent picked their appearance, the report showed. Another 10.2 percent said jobs were their top concern.
among those aged 20-24, jobs were the biggest issue of concern, accounting for 49.5 percent of the replies, the office said. Another 13.5 percent of the respondents picked appearance as their top concern.
The portion of youths out of the total population is likely to continue to decline in 2007, the office said, citing its population estimate.
Those aged at least 18 is likely to make up 23.4 percent of total population in mid-2007, compaRed with 23.8 percent the previous year and 24.4 percent two years earlier.